Olio Seminar | Words Shape Worlds: The Discourse of Courtrooms

Maureen Matarese at Living Room

Wed, Sep 26 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

In this Olio seminar we will examine the language and discourse of courtroom interaction, looking at how that language shapes the jury’s decision.

Why does it matter if a lawyer begins a question with "and" or "so?" What is a presupposition, and why does it matter in court? Who is allowed to tell stories in court, and how does that impact the case? What are prototypical norms, how do they shape jurors' perceptions of the defendant and the plaintiff?

In this Olio, seminar we'll use examples from the Jane Doe v. Brock Turner— Stanford rape case, O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, and the Jodi Arias murder trial to uncover the ways in which language carefully shapes what happens in the courtroom.


September 26: Discourse Analysis in Court

We will learn 5 key concepts in Discourse Analysis and apply them to real courtroom transcripts.


Forensic Linguistics Fieldtrip!

In between the other two sessions, seminar participants will, on their own, attend night court with a homework assignment.


October 10: Forensic Linguistics: A Data Session

The final session will analyze the written notes collected during courtroom observation.


*This Olio Seminar will take meet on September 26th and October 10th in a living room in Prospect Heights and will be BYOB.*

Teacher: Maureen Matarese

Maureen T. Matarese is a professor at BMCC. She has a doctorate from Columbia University and is a linguist with a specialization in discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics. She is the U.S. expert on social work interaction (particularly in homeless settings) and the discourse of street-level bureaucrats.


Venue: Living Room
Add to Calendar Sept. 26, 20187:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 2018 America/New_York Think Olio | Olio Seminar | Words Shape Worlds: The Discourse of Courtrooms In this Olio seminar we will examine the language and discourse of courtroom interaction, looking at how that language shapes the jury’s decision. None

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